Of the many learning and growing opportunities accessible to Bates students during their four years on campus, the option to spend a semester away is perhaps one of the most valuable and sought after. For students who wish to experience a semester in a new place, or for those who are simply exhausted by the never-ending Maine winter, the Off-Campus Study Office provides a range of study abroad programs that aim to include all class years.
The Off-Campus Study Office provides three opportunities for Bates students to venture off-campus for studies and travels. While most students are familiar with the traditional semester abroad, which either occurs during the fall or spring semester of junior year, there are also opportunities through the Bates Fall Semester Abroad program and various short-term courses for students to spend time away from campus.
The Bates Off-Campus Study Office works to include all class years in the range of programs they provide. The Bates Fall Semester Abroad, unbeknownst to many students, is actually open to first-years, as well as sophomores, juniors, and seniors. Should students be enticed by the opportunity, first-year’s may spend their first semester at Bates abroad with other Bates students and professors. The Bates Fall Semester Abroad also fulfills the General Education Concentration (GEC) academic requirement, eliminating the tedious need to fulfill a GEC at a later point.
“The Bates FSA has many perks that are not normally found in a traditional study abroad experience”, says Marina Dickson ‘17 who spent her sophomore fall semester in Vienna, Austria. “You get to spend time with Bates professors whose quality of teaching is better than what you find in most abroad academic programs”, Dickson added.
In addition, students who wish to experience off-campus study but may be reluctant to spend a whole semester away from campus may be enticed by the various short-term courses with off-campus study components. These off-campus study programs are designed to allow students to remain on campus for a few weeks of short-term, while also traveling domestically and/or internationally to gain learning experience pertinent to their respective short-term course.
Through inclusion of these three off-campus study opportunities, the Bates Off-Campus Study Office has worked to include as many Bates students as possible in their off-campus study program. Statistics provided by the Off-Campus Study Office highlight the success that these programs are having in reaching students.
In the 2016-2017 academic year, the Bates Off-Campus Study office received 334 application in February 2016. Of the 334 applications submitted, 285 students studied off-campus during Fall 2016 and Winter 2017 semesters, and the complete academic year. In addition, 60% of the Class of 2018 studied off-campus for a semester of the academic year.
It is evident then that efforts from the Off-Campus Study Office to include programs that target as many Bates students as possible have been successful. The opportunity to study abroad is paramount in taking advantage of all the opportunities Bates students have to formulate a well-rounded and worldly education. Students interested in off-campus study opportunities are encouraged to reach out to the helpful faculty at the Off-Campus Study Office.